Great truck for light hauling, fishing off the beach and traveling off road. Excellent ride on street travel. Five speed transmission is smooth and useful with its 4x4 gear box. Except for routine maintenance, no repairs had to be made. Jump seat in extra-cab with storage, rear window slider and rear side windows that push out on an angle.
I bought the truck used back in the day with less than 80K on it. It now has over 156k and only replaced the brake pads. I have overloaded this truck many times and even pulled trailers with a F250 on the back. This little truck does it all. I have the TRD package and it goes where ever you want it to go.
2.4L automatic, extended cab 2WD SR5. So far, I'm getting 25 mpg. The smallest engine available, but has perfectly adequate power. This is the first year for standard ABS, which was a hard to find option. I searched forever for these features in a used truck, really glad I found it. I hear the '05 and newer Tacomas don't have as good build quality, they're larger and don't offer the 2.4L. If you're looking for great reliability and mileage, I'd get an '03 or '04.
Extended cab. No extra interior room without it, but you still get a 6 foot bed with it, unlike the 4 door. Nobody will ever ride back there, but it's good inside space to put a few groceries, etc.
Hard to find luxury options on Tacomas. Sun roof, Power locks & mirrors, and power heated leather bucket seats with lumbar adjustment as found in my '99 Avalon would be great.